I was just riding around, taking it easy, soaking in the Fall colors when two teenage riders snuck up on me on their tandem. An old, beat-up tandem. As they passed me they were pedalling their 50 pound beast furiously. I decided not to chase them until they were way out of sight.
With each succeeding roller I would gain ground; they virtually ground to a stop on every uphill and I wasn't loosing too much time on the downhills. When I passed them one of them said, "It's no use, he's riding Campagnolo!"
Such is the mystique of Campagnolo.
Which brings me to the just received book, the anniversary "Campagnolo, 75 Years of Cycling Passion". I'm enjoying reading it, and recommend it. Early on it discusses how Tullio Campagnolo came to invent the wheel quick release lever system.
In the 1920s "there remained the fact that to change gears the rider had to get off the bike, release the rear wheel by twisting the wingnuts of the hub, spin the wheel around, then remount it, fitting the chain to the sprocket and then redoing the wingnuts...."
Campagnolo,"a promising cyclist", found himself in a race in 1927 on the Croce d'Aune in the snow. "I was paralyzed by the cold. Working on the nuts, my hands began to bleed because the wheel would not come off. When I got home, defeated and discouraged, I began to think about what was to become the most perfect derailleur in the world."
"His quick release hub was the first milestone in an authentic technological revolution."
Photos: Valentino Campagnolo (left) and Vittorio Adorni holding a copy of the book during its official presentation at the EICMA Bike Show in Milan, 2008; book cover